EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have played only five games, yet the season has already seemed like a long one for Brett Favre.
The 41-year-old quarterback has been nursing his right throwing elbow through tendinitis and he’s taken some big hits, too. His team is 2-3 in a year the Vikings pulled out all the stops to reach the Super Bowl after falling one game short last season.
And Tuesday, he was scheduled to meet behind closed doors with the NFL over allegations that he sent lewd photos and inviting text messages and voicemails to a female employee of the New York Jets two years ago, back when both were with the franchise. The woman, Jenn Sterger, has not commented about the allegations posted on the Deadspin website.
The exact timing and location of the meeting were not publicly disclosed. The NFL declined comment, while the NFL Network reported it would take place Tuesday with a member of the league’s security team.
Coach Brad Childress said the Vikings won’t have a role in the meeting, to his knowledge, and said Monday: “That’s not our responsibility.”
Whatever happens, Favre has not looked like the same spry, confident quarterback he was last year when the Vikings were undefeated and scoring plenty of points. The addition of Randy Moss was a big boost, but Favre has clearly missed Sidney Rice while the Pro Bowl pick from last season recovers following hip surgery.
Favre’s elbow was bothering him before a cortisone shot last week calmed it down. He’s said all along the mental drain of playing is harder to fight than physical pain, but he can’t go on this way forever. The slow recovery from offseason ankle surgery was one of many reasons why he waited until mid-August to decide to come back.
Favre has acknowledged a few times this fall that so far this season it hasn’t been as much fun as the last one. He recalled a conversation with his mother and other family members after the Vikings lost their first two games.
“They said, ‘You’ve got to start smiling more,’” Favre said. “That’s pressure.”
Favre — who has not denied the allegations or commented specifically about the scandal — has seen his reputation take a hit and his record consecutive games streak put in jeopardy should the NFL suspend him.
“It’s in the back of our heads, I’m sure, but like I said everything will take care of itself and we can only control what we can control,” wide receiver Percy Harvin said Monday of the possibility of Favre missing time. “If he’s here, we’ll love it. If he’s not, we’ve got his back, and hopefully he’ll get back soon.”
Favre said Sunday he’s only “concerned about the next game” and that he’ll let the investigation “take its course.” He said he hasn’t been feeling extra pressure to succeed because of the controversy.
There’s probably enough pressure from this month’s schedule.
On Sunday night, he returns to Lambeau Field for a game against his old team. The Packers are beat up, but there’s no regular-season game they’d rather win than this one. On Halloween, there’s a trip to New England to play the Patriots, who are 4-1 entering this week.
“We deal with adversity so much,” tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said, adding: “All we can control is what we can control. … That’s what a professional is all about. That’s what a man is all about.”
Childress shrugged off a question about whether Favre might be getting more than he bargained for this season, pinning any frustration, uncertainty or stress on the team’s losing record.
“Smiling is when you’re having success and having fun,” Childress said. “So hopefully as I say, God willing, he can smile a little bit more as we go forward.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.